QUEZON City, Oct. 1, 2014—In keeping with this Year of the Laity which stresses the “universal call to holiness”, the much-awaited feast of Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario de La Naval de Manila set on October 12 aims to pay tribute to the lay faithful, encouraging them to share in the Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel.
Themed “Maria: Inang Layko, Ina ng Layko,” the celebration that is famous nationwide for its elaborate, and as yet unrivalled, procession, encourages all Christians to take the Blessed Virgin Mary as their outstanding model and perfect guide in following her Son, Jesus Christ.
“As Mary has always been instrumental in bringing Christ to the world, the laity is also called to a mission to be agents of the positive transformation of the world,” shared Dominican Father Giuseppe Pietro Arsciwals, who heads the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Naval (Santo Domingo Church) in Quezon City.
In a Philippine Daily Inquirer column, historian Ambeth Ocampo notes that the feast of La Naval de Manila and the veneration of the Marian image associated with it trace their roots to the miraculous victory of the combined Filipino-Spanish forces over the Protestant Dutch armada that tried to occupy the Philippines in a naval showdown that lasted from March to October 1646.
Outmanned and outgunned, the Spanish and Filipino soldiers almost did not win the battle had it not been for the intercession of the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, the “Patroness of Christian Navies”, who had earlier proved what she could do in the 1571 Battle of Lepanto that checked the spread of Islam in Europe.
The grand festivities will officially kick off on October 2, Thursday at 5 p.m. with the traditional enthronement of the canonical image of Our Lady of La Naval at the Santo Domingo Church.
The first of nine novena masses in honor of the Blessed Virgin of the Most Holy Rosary will begin the following day, October 3, which will run until October 11, Saturday.
To preside over the series of Eucharistic celebrations are Dominican Fathers Arsciwals, Carmelo Arada, Ernesto Arceo, Dennis Maquiraya, Eugenio Cabillon, Hermel Pama, Gerard Francisco Timoner III, Norman Quilaquil, Paul Reagan Talavera, and Nilo Lardizabal.
The grand procession will be held on October 12, Sunday, at 4 p.m. (Raymond A. Sebastián)